Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder and Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hadiz Saeed was sent to prison in two terror financing cases that were registered by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in 2019, according to Islam Khabar. According to the sources Pakistan has taken this step to avoid economic sanctions from global anti-terror watchdogs and financial Action Task Force in the time of political and economic instability in the country.
Saeed’s sentencing is part of Pakistan’s ‘preparations’ to meet stringent anti-terror measures that it is being asked to fulfil since 2018 to escape action by the FATF. It is a seasonal charade to avoid or postpone economic sanctions in case the FATF is not satisfied with the country’s measures taken against terror funding and money laundering.
However, with the next FATF meeting a few weeks away and the change of government in Pakistan, it still needs to be seen if the country still keeps on following its policy of foot-dragging on measures to fight terror at home and its ‘export’ to the neighbourhood. Further, the political crisis in the country might be Pakistan’s ready excuse for being unable to deliver to FATF.
Amidst a raging political crisis that overwhelmed everything else in Pakistan, an anti-terrorism court on April 8, 2022 sentenced Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder and the chief of the Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Hafiz Saeed, to 31 years in prison in two new terror financing cases that were registered by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD).
Notably, Saeed is not new to terrorism, his links to the world of terror are established enough for the US to announce a million-dollar bounty on him. He is also the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks that killed 172 people in the Indian metropolis in 2008. His outfit LeT was also involved in the 2001 shootout at Parliament House in New Delhi and the 2016 attack on the military headquarters in Uri, according to the media outlet.
Using Saeed at will, Pakistan has always curbed his public criticism. Further, his terror trails have been long concealed under the guise of charity. However, amid international pressure and the fear of sanctions from FATF, Pakistan was compelled to investigate against him.
Moreover, Saeed’s arrest may also be one of Pakistan’s old tactics of sentencing terrorists who will later be freed by the higher courts of the country, according to Italian political adviser Sergio Restelli.